Undergraduates Help Inculcate Reading Habit In Museum

Last update: 14/08/2014

By Siti Radzeah Rahmat

SHAH ALAM (Bernama) -- Museum is a place where visitors can seek knowledge by gleaning at historical items and narratives, thus museum also plays an active role in creating a learned society apart from its primary role as the guardian of historical heritage.

And in creating a knowledgeable society, the Department of Museums Malaysia knows that it has a meaningful part to play. Thus it went one step ahead with the help of a group of students - help inculcate the reading habit among young patrons of museum.

Thus the department with the collaboration of Universiti Teknologi MARA's (UiTM) final year public relations students recently launched its children's resource centre at Muzium Negara under the latter's "Books & Treasures" programme.

The programme was undertaken by 19 of UiTM's e-distance learning public relations undergraduates.

The undergraduates chose this programme as their final year project to complement the many efforts taken by the Ministry of Education to promote reading from a tender age.


When the project manager Zetty Zuraidah Yusof approached the museum authorities with the idea of setting up the resource centre for children at the museum, the museum authorities were equally enthusiastic of the idea.

The Museum Department is aware that many children accompany their parents to the museum. Thus with the resource centre, the parents can concentrate on history while their children on books and activities.

"There is no end to the importance of this treasure called the book. Books are a necessary part of every functioning civilization. They transmit history, teach morals, keep laws, maintain a stable language, codify both religion and philosophy and spread ideas", said Datuk Ibrahim Ismail, Director General of Department of Museums Malaysia at the launch of the resource centre.

"We are pleased that we have played our part in the intellectual development of young children through this programme", he added.


The resource centre located in the Muzium Negara's library, features a large collection of activity books and juvenile fiction and non-fiction titles. Thus children who come to museum now have access to books and learning activities.

The "Books & Treasures Programme" will encourage children to continuously appreciate books and treasure the value obtained by reading them.

Prof. Dr. Kiranjit Kaur, advisor of the project said; "The vision of the 'Books & Treasures' programme is to encourage higher literacy through reading, which is the foundation for learning.

"Today's youth generally prefers to read printed text that's longer no than 140 characters. The reading culture will ensure a community of individuals who can interact on a social level with more respect in this social media age".

This writer who was also the project secretary said the 500 books at the resource centre were sourced through a two month long book donation drive campaign.

As for this writer, a final year public relations student as well, the project provided valuable lessons in and outside the classroom.

The project helped the undergraduates to communicate effectively with the stakeholders and establish good teamwork.

Though it was a routine course work with an excellent outcome, in retrospect it turned out to be a poignant one as well when one of the team members Azrina Yaakob perished in the MH17 tragedy about a month later.




Azrina Yaakob, one of the active proponents of "Books & Treasures" programme , was a flight stewardess with Malaysia Airlines who perished in the MH17 tragedy in Ukraine on July 17.

Azrina, is described by her project teammates as cooperative, hardworking and down to earth person accepted the tasks entrusted on her with an open heart.

"She took great effort to participate and contribute to the programme despite of her busy schedule as a mother and a stewardess", said teamate Zetty Zuraidah Yusof.

The jovial Kedah born lass was the one in charge of souvenirs and managing with the activities for children when the children's resource centre was launched in Museum Negara.

As for Azrina, a mother of two, the final year project had special place in her heart as she too firmly believed that the reading habit has to be inculcated early in life.

She leaves behind a son and a daughter aged 6 and 3 respectively.

Flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 as it was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 passengers and crew. The Boeing 777-200 aircraft is believed to have been shot down over the war-torn country.